Match Preview: Eintracht Frankfurt vs SL Benfica

Eintracht Frankfurt will welcome Benfica to the Commerzbank-Arena in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final encounter on Thursday night.

19-year Joao Felix stole the show with a hat-trick and an assist in the first leg, leading Benfica to a 4-2 victory over a 10-men Eintracht Frankfurt side.

The Eagles travel to Germany with a two-goal advantage, as they are looking to book their place in the Europa League semi-finals against Chelsea/Slavia Prague.

Frankfurt is pursuing the first European semi-finals for the club since their UEFA Cup triumph back in 1980.

They are also fighting for a top-four Bundesliga finish, which will see them secure a Champions League football for the first time since 1960 – when they lost 7-3 to Real Madrid in the highest scoring European Cup Final in the history of the competition.

Team news

Evan N’Dicka is suspended for Eintracht Frankfurt after being sent off in the first leg, while Timothy Chandler, Marco Russ, and Taleb Tawatha are all injured.

Jonathan de Guzman was only fit enough for a place on the bench in Lisbon, but the Dutch midfielder is expected to start for the home side on Thursday.

Jonas returns from suspension for the Eagles, while winger Eduardo Salvio and central midfielder Gabriel remain sidelined.

French right-back Sebastian Corchia is doubtful for Benfica’s trip to the Commerzbank-Arena, as he fights for fitness before the start of the game.

What did the managers say

Eintracht Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter believes his team needs to play a perfect game if they want to overturn the two-goal deficit and qualify for the Europa League semi-finals.

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“We need a perfect performance. We’re behind and we have to score goals, but we still need to be patient and alert so that we don’t concede ourselves,” he said via the Eintracht Frankfurt official website.

“I wasn’t surprised by what we saw from Benfica in the first leg. What surprised me more was how well my team played despite the numerical disadvantage.

“I’m sure we’ll be carried by the crowd tomorrow. When we walk up the steps and feel the atmosphere, it’ll be an incredible feeling. That electrifies us.”

Bruno Lauge was happy after Benfica’s 4-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals.

“We have achieved a very good result against a great team,” he said via Benfica’s official website. “Our strategy worked in full, and our first goal defines very well what we were looking for.”

“Joao is a fantastic kid, there is still a lot to learn for him, technically and tactically, to know how to occupy spaces and to perceive the moments of the game. We do not want to put any pressure on him, we just want him to play his game and continue developing as a footballer.”

Stats

Eintracht has been paired with Portuguese opponents in the European competitions only once, as they were eliminated on away goals by Porto in the 2013/14 Europa League round of 32 (2-2 away, 3-3 home).

Benfica has won only two of their 24 matches in Germany, though both of those were in the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League – 2-0 against Stuttgart in 2010/11 and 1-0 at Bayer Leverkusen in 2012/13.

Luka Jovic, on loan from Benfica, has scored 25 goals for Frankfurt in all competitions this season, including eight in the Europa League.

The Eagles have scored four goals in four of their last six games across all competitions.

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